Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jalen Reagor was absent during the two days that OTA practices were open to the media. Reagor was taking some personal time off following the tragic death of Jeff Gladney, his college roommate and “right hand man.” He was a pallbearer at Gladney’s funeral on June 4.
Context is important when discussing Reagor. It’s justifiable to bash him for underwhelming statistics on the field; however, it isn’t fair to kick Reagor when he’s hurting — physically, mentally, whatever the case. Head coach Nick Sirianni was very forthcoming when asked why Reagor was missing during the final day of OTAs on June 8. He has no issues with the third-year receiver.
“He had great attendance through this, and just so happened the times that you guys were here he wasn’t,” Sirianni said. “But he had great attendance through this and was really into it, and there’s no denying that Jalen has talent. He just has to continue to try to be consistent. That was our discussion.”
Sirianni’s comments hearkened back to Howie Roseman saying Reagor needed to take “another step.” The Eagles are fine with Reagor taking a break to grieve and mourn his friend. The organization has a sterling reputation for supporting its players and providing them with the resources they need off the field (see: Lane Johnson).
But the team is counting on Reagor to report to training camp on July 26 ready to work. Sirianni has already talked to Reagor about what he needs to improve on.
“We have a discussion with every player at the end of the year of what we need to do better, what we did well,” Sirianni said. “Jalen, one of the things that we talked about was well, okay, you’re not at TCU where you get 11 balls thrown to you a game. You might get three or you might get two; take advantage of the ones that you get and just be consistent with it. And that’s what we’re working on right now, because there’s no doubt that he has talent, and we are excited to work with him again.”
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Howie Roseman: ‘No Secret About That’
General manager Howie Roseman was in the room for some of the conversations between Reagor and Sirianni. He was the one who green-lighted the Reagor pick — a controversial move that allowed Justin Jefferson to go to Minnesota one pick later — and the Eagles aren’t going to give up on the burner from Texas Christian that easy.
“We talked about it at the end of the season; we need Jalen [Reagor] to take another step,” Roseman said on March 2. “We need Jalen to do some of the things we drafted him to do. He knows that. There’s no secret about that. We’ve told him the same things.”
Roseman brought Reagor up again, unprompted, on April 20 when asked to evaluate previous drafts. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is another early-round pick that hasn’t panned out.
“I would say with Jalen [Reagor], obviously I know he gets a lot of attention in this city and I know he’s working his butt off,” Roseman said. “And when you look back — we were having this conversation this morning with our strength and conditioning staff — that was a hard year for some guys because you had COVID, you didn’t have an off-season program, and so sometimes the book isn’t necessarily written on all those guys.”
Offensive Coordinator Sees ‘Explosive’ Player
Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen is another guy keeping the faith in Reagor. His voice might be the most important one considering he’s the one calling the plays. While Reagor’s role remains unknown heading into the 2022 campaign, it sounds like the Eagles want to utilize his speed in some capacity.
“He’s explosive. That’s one of his biggest assets. He’s an explosive player,” Steichen said on June 3. “He still has that ability to run routes and be fast and strong and physical, and again, we’re just continuing to improve on those things every single day.”
Reagor could morph into an option at slot receiver with Quez Watkins lining up more on the outside. It worked for Nelson Agholor in 2017 after some lean years to start his career. The Eagles aren’t giving up on the 21st overall pick from the 2020 draft.